James McClean hands Ireland fitness boost


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Republic of Ireland have been handed a boost ahead of their World Cup qualifier with Austria on Saturday after winger James McClean was declared fit to play.

The West Bromwich Albion player had been a doubt for the match due to a back problem and he trained away from the rest of the squad on Wednesday.

The 27-year-old returned to full training on Thursday and has now been passed fit to play at the Ernst-Happel-Stadion.

Sunderland defender John O’Shea is also available following a hamstring issue but Leeds midfielder Eunan O’Kane has withdrawn from the squad due to a groin complaint.

“Midfielder Eunan O’Kane has returned to his club, Leeds United, due to a groin problem, while John O’Shea and James McClean both took a full part in training at the FAI National Training Centre on Thursday morning,” the FAI said in a statement.

Ireland are currently second in Group D, level on points with group leaders Serbia, and can move six points clear of fourth-placed Austria with victory in Vienna.

The Green Army have failed to secure a victory over Austria since 1963 and are available at 4.00 to win the match, while the hosts are priced at 2.00 and the draw is on offer at 3.30.

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